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Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes-Benz GL 320 CDI - Web Exclusive

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton is about to get behind the wheel of another Mercedes-Benz GL-Class - his preferred choice away from the racetrack.

His latest 4Matic model - a new GL 320 CDI - is powered by a three-liter V6 common-rail diesel engine, developing 224hp at 3800rpm. Whereas Lewis's McLaren F1 car has a 2.4-liter V8 developing 500hp more at an incredible 19000rpm.

Explaining his choice of road-going vehicle, Lewis said: "At the track I drive on the limit, but on public roads I like to relax, kick back and cruise. The GL's perfect for that - it's got plenty of space for all my kit, a brilliant sound system, and the high driving position gives me a clear view of the road ahead. It's just about the most comfortable road car I've driven.

"My GL looks great - metallic black paint with matching leather, privacy glass, and it's got awesome 21" AMG wheels. But with standard air suspension, it still rides beautifully."

The seven-seat GL-Class has 4Matic four-wheel drive with the 4ETS Electronic Traction System as standard, and all engines drive through the 7G-Tronic automatic transmission. The standard Off-Road Pro package adds low range gearing, center and rear differential locks, under-body protection, and extended ground clearance for the Airmatic suspension.

Like all GL-Class models, Lewis's new car features the advanced Comand navigation and audio system as standard. With radio, hard disk mapping with TMC, integrated six-disc CD/DVD changer, music register and memory card slot, entertainment on the move is not a problem. Standard Bluetooth connectivity allows cell phones to connect to the car, allowing hands-free calls - and Linguatronic voice-operated software allows the driver and car to "talk" to each other.

Lewis added: "This is the second GL I've owned, and it's a privilege to have a job where I get to drive such amazing cars all the time." The cynical side of us feels he's bound to say nice things about his employer's product, especially as we can't imagine he actually pays for his car...

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